Patrick Skene Catling

Bird on a Wire



onathan Cape 394pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

‘Tough being an adventurer in the twenty-first century.’ Robert Winrush, Adam Thorpe’s 51-year-old protagonist with kaleidoscopic morals, makes this observation when he abandons his work as a ‘freight dog’ – a freelance pilot who has been smuggling cargoes of weapons and mercenary soldiers – and takes flight from his vengeful, criminal employer. To earn brown envelopes bulging with sufficient cash to maintain a house and garden in Surrey and to send his son and daughter to boarding schools, Winrush has been able for some time to live with his false manifests, declaring freight as industrial machinery while in fact he is carrying deadly contraband, such as landmines. His previously adjustable conscience reaches a deadlock. He walks away from his contract and crew when he discovers that his latest illicit cargo is to be delivered to the Taliban.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,